IAPA calls on the Norwegian Government to reconsider the Termination of the Au Pair Program and to continue this Cultural Exchange
The recent decision by the Norwegian government to terminate the au pair program in the country has ignited a wave of controversy and debate. IAPA International Au Pair Association has expressed its concerns and urged the government to reconsider, emphasizing the importance of preserving this cultural exchange program.
Norway has long been a favored destination for young people from around the world who participate in and benefit from the au pair program. These individuals live with Norwegian host families, providing childcare services and immersing themselves in the country’s culture. However, the program has faced scrutiny due to several high-profile lawsuits against host families that garnered significant media attention, raising concerns about the well-being and protection of au pairs. As a result, the government has made the decision to end the program.
In response to this development, IAPA addressed the Norwegian government during the consultation period, which ended on 29 June. In its letter IAPA highlighted that the au pair program plays an important role in promoting cultural exchange and understanding between nations. It offers valuable opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Our research among au pair agencies, au pairs and the official statistics shows a different picture: Caritas, the organization officially providing support and counselling to au pairs and host families, has stated that only 3-4 % of au pair complaints involve serious problems. And the majority of these are successfully resolved.
IAPA also reminded the government that Norway was one of the few countries that signed, ratified and implemented the European Council’s “European Agreement on ‘au-pair‘ Placement” of 1969 in 1971.
Rather than abolishing the program completely, IAPA proposes to improve it and enrich it with cultural opportunities, as well as to discuss stricter regulations, the introduction of higher protection measures and the establishment of additional support systems for both au pairs and host families.
The debate between supporters and opponents of the government’s decision continues, and it remains to be seen how the concerns raised by IAPA and other stakeholders will be addressed.
Read the full letter here: